February 2018 

Clinical trials in Canada to explore reducing inflammation in HIV

A number of clinical trials are underway to study therapies that can help reduce inflammation and have other beneficial effects in people on HIV treatment (ART). Here are some in Canada:


Pitavastatin is approved in the U.S. but not in Canada for the management of cholesterol levels. Small clinical trials suggest that pitavastatin not only helps to normalize cholesterol levels but can also reduce some measures of inflammation. Also, pitavastatin does not increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a problem with some other statins.

The main purpose of the Reprieve study is to find out if the use of pitavastatin can reduce deaths from heart attack, stroke or other complications of cardiovascular disease.

Researchers are seeking volunteers with the following basic profile:

  • living with HIV between the ages of 40 and 75
  • on antiretroviral therapy (ART) for at least 6 months prior to study entry
  • no history of cardiovascular disease (including heart attack or stroke)
  • not currently using a statin drug
  • low-to-moderate risk for developing heart disease
  • not pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant

To find out more about Reprieve and consider participation, readers can contact study centres in Canada:


Researchers at McGill University in Montreal are studying the safety of two compounds found in marijuana on the immune systems of people with HIV. For further information about this study, visit:


This study, taking place in Toronto, involves the use of friendly bacteria (probiotics) that researchers hope to show will reduce inflammation in the gut and possibly general inflammation in HIV-positive men with the following profile:

  • At least 18 years of age
  • Have been taking standard anti-HIV treatment for at least two years
  • Have an undetectable HIV-1 viral load (less than 50 copies/ml) for the past 2 years (rare “blips” are OK)
  • Consistently low blood CD4 T cell counts (less than 350 cells/mm3 observed in at least 70% of tests during the previous 2 years)

For further information about enrolment contact Bryan Boyachuk, or with questions about the study in general contact Rodney Rousseau. For more information about this study, visit:

—Sean R. Hosein